Gorman: A new story for O’Briens
Mallory O’Brien has heard all about her aunt playing for WPIAL and PIAA volleyball titles at Baldwin and her uncle coaching its 1988 hockey state champions.
So it meant the world to the junior setter to see Julie (O’Brien) Happe and John O’Brien in the bleachers when Baldwin won its 10th WPIAL Class AAA championship — the first since 1993.
Baldwin faces two-time defending state champion Landisville Hempfield on Tuesday in the PIAA semifinals at Altoona.
“It just gives you that extra confidence in yourself that your family knows you can do it and that it’s right there,” Mallory said. “I always wanted to experience the same stories they’ve told me throughout my childhood. When it finally came, it was awesome.”
It was a trip down memory lane for Julie, who played on Baldwin’s 1980 and ’81 WPIAL and PIAA runners-up. At the WPIAL title game, she sat next to former teammates Mary Jane McCall and Debbie McSwiggin and their coach, Paul Hindes.
“It is kind of like me reliving my old experiences and memories,” said Julie, whose daughters are athletes but don’t play volleyball, “and it’s great for me to have Mallory to get my volleyball itch scratched.”
Even though Mallory doesn’t play for a club team in the offseason, the offense runs through her sets.
“She gets the least amount of credit and probably deserves the most,” said Baldwin coach Chris Kelly, who added that she is one of the best passers and defensive players on the team. “We have great outside hitters, but none of it works without Mallory.”
Mallory O’Brien has a story to tell, one that’s as good as gold.